How to structure your Purchase Requests*

How to structure your purchase requests

Creating a reliable and efficient process isn’t an easy job. You must identify your gaps, map out all steps, standardize the phases and even create rules to get your workflow running smoothly. When it comes to the finance department, processes and policies need to be even more reliable and secure than in other areas of the business.

You’ve probably heard the saying “garbage in, garbage out”, right? And it’s true. Before you can build an effective workflow for your finance processes you have to standardize on the right jumping-off point. A purchase request should trigger your process. Ensuring this trigger is correct can make or break the success of your workflow.

Finance managers are faced with the difficult task of managing tools and systems where there are multiple requesters and variance of demand. Without automated workflows, a significant amount of time can be spent gathering required information, aligning on priority, and so on. Long story short, manual processes can often result in human error and rework. 

To create a reliable and error-proof Purchasing process it’s essential to receive structured requests. So here are some tips that you can follow to put you on a path to success:

1. Centralize your Purchase Request form in a single place

You should have only one central method of receiving requests. This means you have to decline walk-up requests, emails and phone call requests. Trying to track and manage inbound requests from too many channels can generate delays, miscommunication and lack of alignment.

Receive all requests in a single place with Pipefy’s Public form. Our platform is completely customizable to fit your unique needs.

My best advice is to only accept requests coming from this official and centralized channel. When a teammate asks you to “make an exception”, explain why it’s important to make a  request the right way.

2. Create an error-proof form

Now that you have a single place to receive your demands, you’ll need to make sure you’re collecting all of the information you’ll need to process a purchase request. You should build the form for your process taking into consideration what you need to move forward. By setting rules for your request forms you are setting up your processes to be more error-proof.

In Pipefy’s platform, you’ll use the conditional logic feature to set form criteria. For example A $10 purchase should have less regulation than a $1,000 purchase, right? The level of detail for each request is different, so the conditional logic allows you to use a single form and adapt it to each situation. 

3. Create a policy and make it visible

 It’s difficult to implement change to a process. Be sure that you have a set of rules for any new inbound requests and a document that explains step-by-step how your process works. You should share it with your colleagues and make sure you have internal champions to help with adoption. You will always have exceptions, but they will be fewer and less error-prone when the majority of your requests are coming through the appropriate channel.

With Pipefy, you will be able to make your policy visible on the Public Form. You can either create a statement field on your process workflow or link it to your purchasing policies within the form. 

Do you want to test Pipefy for Purchasing? Try it for free!

*Artur de Paula is from the Finance Team and is the HoneyBadger responsible for the Procurement Process at Pipefy.

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